How to Ask for a Taper: Tips for a Smarter Training Plan

A taper is a reduction in training before a competition or event so that the body can recover, replenish glycogen stores and allow muscles to repair. It’s a critical part of any athlete’s training program, and it’s essential to know how to ask for a taper to get the most out of it. In this article, we will cover the tips for a smarter training plan to ensure that you can ask for a taper with confidence.

Understand Your Body

The first step in asking for a taper is understanding your body. Everyone’s body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Understanding your body’s capabilities, limitations, and response to training can help ensure that you get the right tapering plan to help you perform at your best.

Assess Your Fitness Level

Before you start asking for a taper, assess your fitness level. Knowing where you stand can help you tailor your training program to your specific needs. A fitness assessment can include measurements of your VO2 max, body composition, strength, and endurance. These measurements can help your coach or trainer develop a tapering plan that’s customized to your fitness level.

Know Your Limits

Understanding your limit is equally important. Many athletes try to push their limits by training hard for long periods without giving their body enough time to recover. This can lead to exhaustion, injuries, and burnout. When you know your limits and train smarter, you can significantly reduce your risk of injury, avoid burnout and perform better.

Track Your Progress

Keeping track of your progress is crucial for any training program. You can use a journal, an app or any other tool to monitor your workouts, heart rate, and recovery time. This will help you determine whether you’re making progress or not and adjust your training program accordingly. Tracking your progress can also help you ask for a taper with more confidence, knowing that you’ve put in the necessary work.

Communicate with Your Coach/Trainer

Communication is essential when it comes to asking for a taper. Your coach or trainer needs to know how you’re feeling, what you’re struggling with, and what’s working well for you. Communicating with them can help you both come up with a tapering plan that works for you.

Talk About Your Goals and Needs

When communicating with your coach or trainer, be open about your goals and needs. They need to know your goals for the competition or event, your needs for recovery, and what you hope to achieve from the taper. This information can help them create a tapering plan that’s tailored to your specific needs.

Be Honest About Your Challenges

It’s also important to be honest about your challenges. Whether you’re dealing with an injury, fatigue, or just struggling with a particular aspect of your training, your coach or trainer needs to know. By being honest, you can work together to overcome these challenges and come up with a tapering plan that works for you.

Ask for Feedback and Support

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your coach or trainer for feedback and support. They’re there to help you, and giving them feedback on how the training program is going can help both of you. If you need additional support, let them know, and they can provide it.

Consider Your Tapering Options

When asking for a taper, there are different options to consider. Here are some of the most popular tapering methods:

Absolute Taper

This is a tapering method where you reduce your training volume by up to 50-70% in the final weeks leading up to the competition. This method is suitable for athletes who have high levels of fatigue, injury, or illness.

Progressive Taper

With this method, you gradually reduce your training volume over several weeks. The training volume might start at around 80% in the first week and decrease by 10% each week leading up to the competition. This method can work well for athletes who want to maintain their fitness level while reducing their risk of injury.

Step Taper

This is a form of tapering where you cut your volume in steps. For example, you could reduce your training volume by 25% in the first week, 50% in the second week and then 75% in the final week. This method is ideal for athletes who want to maintain their peak performance but still reduce their training volume.

Combined Taper

This is a combination of different tapering methods. For example, you could use the absolute taper method for one week, followed by a progressive taper for another week, and then finish with a step taper. This method is ideal for athletes who want to target specific aspects of their training, such as endurance or strength.


Asking for a taper is an essential part of any athlete’s training program. To do it successfully, you need to understand your body’s capabilities, communicate with your coach or trainer, and consider your tapering options. With the right tapering plan, you can improve your performance, reduce your risk of injury, and achieve your goals.


  • What is a taper?
    A taper is a reduction in training volume before a competition or event to allow the body to recover and repair the muscles.
  • How long should a taper last?
    The length of a taper can vary depending on the competition or event, but it can last between one to three weeks.
  • When should I ask for a taper?
    You should ask for a taper when you feel fatigued or your body needs to recover from training.
  • What should I do during a taper?
    During a taper, you should reduce your training volume and intensity but keep up your training frequency.
  • Can I still do strength training during a taper?
    Yes, but you should reduce the volume and intensity of your strength training.


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